From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 11, has said that tax payment is not anti-Islam and has therefore directed all muslim faithful to pay tax.
According to the Emir, without taxes, provision of amenities like schools, roads, hospitals will not be possible. Speaking yesterday, when the Chairman of the Joint Tax Board, JTB, Mr. Tunde Fowler, led 36 state Chairmen of the State Boards of Internal Revenue, (SBIR) to the Emir’s palace in Kano on a royal visit as part of the 134th meeting of the JTB, Sanusi expressed happiness for the visiting noting that oil is contributes only 15 per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product.
“People have always said that Nigerian economy depends on oil. Oil contributes only 15 per cent to Nigeria‘s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). But because government is not looking at other sources so that those sectors will also contribute to growth in the county. I ask the people of Kano, and every Nigerian to pay their taxes. The social services that government provide: roads, hospitals, schools are paid for with taxes. There are a lot of people who believe that taxes are not Islamic. That is not correct. During the time of Sayidina Umar –(one of the caliphs of Prophet Mohammed), people paid taxes. So taxes are not new in Islam. People should pay their taxes. People should be patient and pay their taxes. A lot of social amenities we enjoy will not be possible if we don’t pay taxes”, he said.
Sanusi asked the Joint Tax Board to contain the problem of multiple taxation, simplify tax laws and continue to educate taxpayers on what taxes to pay, where to pay taxes and how to pay taxes.
Also speaking Chairman of JTB, who is also the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, said the JTB team is at the Emir’s palace to receive royal blessing as they deliberate on the ‘Imperatives of Transitioning From Oil Revenue Dependency to non-non-Oil Revenue Sufficiency”.
Fowler also said: “We all know that the days of oil as our major source of income are long gone. We are at your palace to seek royal blessing and to be blessed by your words of blessing, wisdom and guidance. I bring greetings from the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu and the Olowoo Ekoo of Lagos…in recognition of the role of our traditional rulers played in the past in taxation in the country. With your instruction, with your understanding and encouragement, taxpayers in the North and in the South will continue to do the right thing.
We will appreciate your words of encouragement as we start our meeting and deliberate on how JTB could collect taxes to assist governments to meet their mandates. We are here to seek the blessing of the emirate council and its advice on the way forward on payment of taxes and the revenue base. With the commitment of Kano State Government and its support in hosting this meeting, show it the determination to improve payment of taxes and deepen tax administration. There is nothing we can tell your royal majesty that we do not know. You know more than all of us”.
In a statement, Fowler congratulated the Kano state government for recent passage of the Kano’s Inland Revenue Service Autonomy bill.
He promised that the JTB meeting will deliberate on the expansion of tax base. “From this year we will rely on non-oil tax revenue and when oil revenues come back, it will just be an icing on the cake”he said
Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, who spoke through the Commissioner of Finance, Professor Isa Dandago noted that the theme is timely as Nigeria grapples with declining oil revenues.
He disclosed that the State government has established the Servicom directorate to enhance efficiency, while the newly constituted Kano IRS and its board, consists of professionals who are experienced in revenue matters.
Kano IRS will continue to collaborate with the JTB and the FIRS in realising the goals of sustainable revenue for economic development, transparency and accountability. Both State Internal Revenue Service(SBIRs) and FIRS need to collaborate to achieve their goals, he said.